Inside Wild Minds
Lola A. Åkerström profiles one of the most unique plays in Stockholm, Wild Minds, and gets inside the mind of its director and producer Marcus Lindeen.
Though he was born in the south of Sweden, Marcus Lindeen grew up in Stockholm.
He was always interested in theater but started out as a self-taught journalist. He launched his own online magazine when he was 16 which was awarded with a Swedish Pulitzer prize. That landed him jobs as a writer in Sweden’s biggest newspapers. Right after high school, Lindeen moved to New York where he worked as a freelance correspondent and stringer for two newspapers in Sweden.
A few years later he worked as a producer at The National Swedish Radio, hosting a weekly cultural show. He then got fed up with journalism and applied to the Academy for Film and Theater in Stockholm and got accepted into their director’s program.
There he started writing and directing plays based on documentary material.
So in a way I used the knowledge and methods I learned as a journalist and brought that into the theater. My first play was called Regretters. It was staged at Stockholms Stadsteater and was about two older men who regret going through sex change operations and becoming women. The play also became a documentary film with the same name. It premiered in 2010 and since then I have been making both films and theater…. Marcus Lindeen
STS caught up with Marcus Lindeen to learn more about his work and take us into the world of Wild Minds.
STS: How and when was the concept for Wild Minds conceived?
Wild Minds was a commissioned piece I made originally for the literary festival at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. I wanted to make something that was somehow related to fiction and writing, but not in an obvious way.
So I remembered an article I had read a year before in an American psychology magazine about something called Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder. A diagnosis for people with excessive daydreams. It is a fairly new diagnosis and not yet officially recognized as one.
But in closed online forums people who claim that they suffer from this diagnosis share their stories, about how they can’t control their inner fantasy worlds and how they end up spending too many hours by themselves daydreaming instead of living in reality.
I decided to join one of the forums and contacted four people to record interviews with them. ”Wild Minds” is based on the audio tapes from these interviews. The performers in the show listen to an edited version of the original recordings and simultaneously repeat what they hear in the ear-pieces they are wearing throughout the performance.
How has Wild Minds been received? What are some of your memorable moments?
We have gotten very good response. For an audience it is quite a different theater experience. You sit in a circle of chairs together with the performers, as if you were participating in a self-help group for maladaptive daydreamers.
The show has toured several festivals since its premiere.
Last year the production was selected as one of the best Swedish performances at The Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts in 2015.
In April this year we performed at The Festival of International New Drama (FIND) at The Schaubühne theater in Berlin, which resulted in a great review in Berliner Zeitung.
What drives your work as a creative?
I think it is the same drive that drove me as a radio journalist: an enormous amount of curiosity. I just want to know everything about how other people are living their lives.
If there was time, I would stop every single person that I cross on the street and sit down and ask a thousand questions. People just go around with the most fascinating stories, and so few of them are being heard.
It might sound like a cliche, but I really see that as my mission, to use my curiosity and maybe also my courage to approach people and subjects, to bring powerful and poetic stories to other people.
What are your performance plans for the fall? Any new projects in the works?
I am currently working on two big projects. One is a feature documentary film about one of the strangest psychological group experiments of all time.
A group of people crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a raft in 1973 to study violence and aggression. I am reuniting the crew to talk about what happened and how the expedition came to change their lives.
The other project is a play I am writing for Dramaten about a gay murder case in the 1950s. It will hopefully premiere in early 2018. The film will be out in the spring.